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Rethinking What it Means to Feel Stiff

Does Feeling Stiff Correlate to Being Stiff?

This might surprise you, but not always and usually not ever. Current research shows that there is no correlation between feeling stiff and actually being stiff. However, the people who reported feeling stiff had a protective mechanism in which their bodies over-responded to forces applied to the body. This suggests lack of coordination and almost definitely an instability of some kind. Essentially, their body doesn’t trust itself to hold everything together and upright so it responds to certain movements but tightening and tensing in order to protect itself. The instinct of most people who experience this faux “tightness” is to stretch, stretch, and stretch some more. This may even offer some temporary relief but the sensation of being tight all the time will likely be relentless until the underlying problem is addressed. And the constant stretching is likely making the problem worse, so before moving forward with any treatment plan you should probably discontinue stretching.

 

Instead of Stretching…

If you follow my videos and blog posts I’ll bet you can guess what comes next. That’s right, stabilize and strengthen. The simple act of incorporating certain exercises into your weekly schedule can make a world of difference in how you feel day-to-day. The appropriate exercise will depend entirely on where the instability is, so get with someone who can properly assess your movements, limitations, and weaknesses to determine what’s appropriate for you.

 

Other Therapies That May Offer Relief:

Something that often coincides instability is trigger points. This is where a weak elongated muscle develops a tight bundled up knot that often causes discomfort. Although the stabilizing exercises are ideal Myofascial Release and Trigger Point Therapy can be great ways to alleviate tension and relax the muscles while you work towards stability.